Hot Weather is Brush Fire Season
Brush Fires Are Always a Big Deal
Brush fires cause billions of dollars worth of damages every year and destroy thousands of homes. If you live in an area that is highly susceptible to brush fires, you are already aware of this danger. The good news is that there are precautionary measures you can take to keep your family and home safe. Please read on to make sure you are prepared and to understand the steps that might just keep you safe.
Have a Plan
It is always good, no matter where you live, for your family to have an emergency kit and an emergency plan that all members of your family understand. Some water, medical supplies, food, flashlights and extra clothing or blankets could be very important in the event of a fire or earthquake.
Having a kit is important, but it’s even more important for every member of your family to know how to communicate with each other in the event of an emergency, what to do, and where to go. Give some attention to this simple instruction, and it could save lives in the future.
Prepare Your Home & Yard
Design and landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind. Select materials and plants that can help contain fire rather than fuel it.
Use fire-resistant or noncombustible materials on the roof and exterior structure of the dwelling, or treat wood or combustible material used in roofs, siding, decking or trim with fire-retardant chemicals evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
Plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees. For example, hardwood trees are less flammable than pine, evergreen, eucalyptus or fir trees.
Regularly Clean Roof & Gutters
Inspect chimneys at least twice a year. Clean them at least once a year. Keep the dampers in good working order. Equip chimneys and stovepipes with a spark-arrester that meets the requirements of National Fire Protection Association Standard 211. (Contact your local fire department for exact specifications.)
- Use 1/8-inch mesh screen beneath porches, decks, floor areas, and the home itself. Also, screen openings to floors, roof and attic.
- Install a dual-sensor smoke alarm on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms; test monthly and change the batteries at least once each year.
- Teach each family member how to use a fire extinguisher (ABC type) and show them where it’s kept.
- Keep handy household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, axe, handsaw or chain saw, bucket and shovel.
- Keep a ladder that will reach the roof.
- Consider installing protective shutters or heavy fire-resistant drapes.
- Clear items that will burn from around the house, including wood piles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, tarp coverings, etc. Move them outside of your defensible space.
Water! Water! Water!
Identify and maintain an adequate outside water source such as a small pond, cistern, well, swimming pool, or hydrant.
Have a garden hose that is long enough to reach any area of the home and other structures on the property. Install freeze-proof exterior water outlets on at least two sides of the home and near other structures on the property. Install additional outlets at least 50 feet from the home.
Consider obtaining a portable gasoline-powered pump, in case electrical power is cut off.
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